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You are currently browsing the The Pet Product Guru blog archives for October, 2009.

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Archive for October, 2009

cute-puppy-and-kittenMany puppies and kittens fail to complete learning tasks in the early stages of training. This according to Suzanne Britts, Phd. CAAB, is because they either stopped trying or showed signs of distress such as yelping or engaging in abnormal behaviors. Your puppy or kitten begins life wanting and needing to learn. Don’t suppress the behaviors that you don’t like but rather re-program yourself to reinforce and encourage the ones you do like. Dogs and cats that hear “no” much more than they hear “yes” become afraid to try new behaviors. So if your dog refuses to go upstairs or your cat avoids the new cat scratching condo that you just bought her, it may be because her willingness to try it was suppressed by so many “no’s” when she was young. When your dog or cat does something that you like, reinforce this behavior with a “yes good boy or girl.”  When they really do something that you like, you can always give them a treat or get them a new dog or cat toy!

cute-dog-and-cat-togetherWe tend to think that our pets digestive system is the same as ours. This is simply not true and what may be fine for us could be deadly for them. Here is a list of foods that you should never give to your dog or cat. If your pet does ingest something that is toxic to them, do not try to administer pet medication yourself. Seek immediate help from your veterinarian!

Tea and Coffee – dogs and cats are very sensitive to caffeine. Many have died after ingesting coffee  grounds.

no-sign1Grapes and Raisins – These contain potent kidney toxins for dogs. A single serving can cause long term damage.

Salty Foods – Hotdogs, soups, deli meats etc. contain far too much sodium for a cat or dog.

Alcohol – Cats and dogs are highly susceptible to alcohol’s toxic effects. Wine, beer and mixed drinks can cause vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea and even liver failure.

no-sign2Sweet desserts – Cats and dogs are poorly equipped to handle sugary foods and can develop diabetes.

Onions – Onions can destroy a dog’s red blood cells. The can lead to anemia, breathing problems, muscle weakness and death.

Chocolate – Never ever ever give your pet chocolate! Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which can over stimulate your dog’s central nervous system and cause life threatening problems. Dark chocolate contains the strongest concentration of these stimulants.

no-sign3Spoiled of moldy food – Spoiled leftovers are never an acceptable pet food. They con contain toxic fungal compounds and infectious bacteria.

Cooked bones – All cooked bones easily splinter and snap that can cause serious internal problems if swallowed.

Gravy and Sauces – Most of these are too rich for a dog or cat and contain fat, seasonings, sugar or cream which can upset your pets digestive system.

The holidays are almost here. Be careful when it comes to your pet. Stick to dog or cat food. Lots of “human food” is no good for them!

dog-in-halloween-costumeHalloween is almost here and lots of people not only like to get dressed up themselves but they like to dress up their dog as well.  Here’s some costume cautions for you to consider.

Make sure that your dogs outfit is loose and doesn’t restrict any movement in any way. He’ll have to walk, run and be able to take potty breaks comfortably. Makes sure there is enough room in the legs and that the costume fits loosely around the body.

Your dog’s costume should slip on and off very easily. Consider a costume that has velcro or pull away fasteners.

Remember your dog is not used to a costume, so don’t leave him dressed up for too long. He could get frustrated and shred his costume and even bite or scratch.

Dog coats, sweaters and jackets are great for outdoors but make sure that you don’t let your dog wear this clothing indoors for very long.

When you’re picking out a costume for your dog or cat, remember this: if you wouldn’t wear it, don’t think your pet will feel any different. Many dogs and cats do not like costumes and think that they are being punished by being made to wear one. When you put the costume on your pet, do it in a light-hearted way. Never get frustrated. This will make for a bad experience for your pet.

Look at your pets eyes to see if he is OK with the costume. You’ll be able to tell by his expression.

Last of all, make sure he is always kept on his dog leash while outside. Being in a costume could get him upset and cause him to run out into the street.

Happy trick or treating!!

cute-puppy-guilty-lookYou just brought home your adorable new puppy. Now comes the hard part, training him. Each puppy conquers housebreaking  at a different rate. I would avoid paper training or using training pads. While this method has long been promoted as easy and acceptable, it also teaches your dog that going indoors is acceptable. I did this for my little Chihuahua and he would think it was fine to lift his leg in the house. Using a crate to train your new puppy is an excellent and a very effective method. This method is effective because your puppy will learn that he has to go outdoors.  Puppies have very small bladders and it will take a few months for them to get through the night without going. You need to be patient just like you would with a new baby. Crate training encourages the right kind of behavior.  Typically, a new puppy will need to go outside every two or three hours. This is why it is very important that you are there to spend time with him. Here’s a schedule that may be helpful to you.

7:00 am  –    take puppy outside

7:20 am –     give food and water to the puppy in his crate.

7:45 -am –    take puppy outside

11:30am –     take puppy outside

12:0o pm –   give food and water to the puppy in his crate.

12:45 pm-    take puppy outside

2:30pm –      take puppy outside

4:30pm –      take puppy outside

5:00pm –     give food and water to puppy in his crate.

5:30 pm       take puppy outside

After about an hour, take puppy for a short walk and spend time playing. This is very important in a puppy’s development. It will also help the puppy with sleeping through the night.

7:30pm       Remove any food and water for the night

8:30pm        Take the puppy outside

9:30 pm      Put the puppy in his crate to sleep.

Most likely for a few weeks your puppy will not be able to get through the night without going. Listen for any restlessness or whining in the night. If you hear him, get up and take him outside to go. You must be patient. Owning a dog is a big responsibility. Never ever punish your puppy if he has an accident!! Just get the pet odor removal products and clean it up.

dog-bootsWinter is right around the corner and in some areas snow is not far behind. Although your dog may love to run and play in the snow, his feet are very sensitive.  Ice balls that form between your dogs pads and toes can cause them great pain. Roads and sidewalks are often covered with salt and deicers.  Harmful chemicals like magnesium chloride will irritate your dogs feet. Dogs will lick their paws which can cause toxicity by ingesting the chemical.  Sand, gravel and cat litter can help traction in ice and snow but unfortunately, you can’t control people from using harmful chemical on their sidewalk. One option that you may consider is getting dog boots for your dog. This will solve the problem. It may take a little longer getting your furry friend out for a walk. Afterall, you have to put your boots on as well as your dogs, but it’s well worth it. You dog can walk in comfort and you don’t have to worry about him ingesting  any dangerous chemicals.

lazy-dogIt’s not unusual for a dog to break a tooth chewing on a hard bone or toy. Jerry Ann Holsman, a certified veterinary technician at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine says that the important thing to remember is that a fractured tooth is likely very painful so it needs to be taken care of right away. The sooner that you can get your dog to a veterinarian, the sooner his tooth can be saved with a root canal or another procedure. If the tooth is beyond repair, your veterinarian will likely remove it. Don’t worry if there is a whole in his “smile” because dogs can get along fine without a few teeth. I’m sure that your dog prefers comfort and well being over vanity. Watch out for those rawhide bones, they can do damage and break your dogs teeth!

cat-and-computerThis little story amuses me, although I was not amused at the time that it happened. Actually, it happened about 3 times. I run two internet radio stations from a small studio in my apartment. In order for the stations to stay on the air, the computer must not be shut down. I have two cats who think that I spend too much time on the computer and not enough time playing with them. One day, I noticed that one of my radio stations was off the air!  Of course I began troubleshooting connections, wires, power etc. I then noticed that my laptop that was running the stations automation was shut down. Not only was it shut down, but the top was down. I quickly powered it back up and got the station back on the air. A few days later, the same thing happened. By now, I have my suspicions as to who the culprit was. The next time it happened, I saw my cat Millie’s cat toys taken out of her box and placed strategically under my computer chair. Again I powered up the computer and got the radio station back on the air. Then I caught her in the act! Several weeks later, as I was pre-occupied with some other work, I noticed her on the computer keyboard. She stomped on the keyboard and the computer began shutting down. She saw me and with a guilty face ran away. So if you are spending too much time on your computer, make sure that you allow enough time to entertain your pet or who knows what she will do to your precious spreadsheet, e mail, essay etc.

cute-catMany people say that cats are independant and do not bond with humans. Independant to an extent, true but there is a strong bond that develops between cats and humans. I have two cats. My older cat Mollie is closer to me than my dog was. She is so attached that sometimes it’s scary. Even if I say nothing but feel sad, anxious or excited, she knows. She follows me around and does not let me out of her sight. She sits on my lap and looks up at me as if to say “it’s OK, I’m here to make you feel better.” She does make me feel better. Her affection and purring almost always calm me down. The human/animal bond between an owner and a cat starts at the beginning. This is when the kitten or cat enters their new home for the first time. People and cats share fun loving moments, quiet moments, affectionate moments, moments of concern and this relationship continues to evolve and mature. Eventually, the cat owner knows their cat inside and out.  Owners know the cats needs and wants, likes and dislikes and strengths and weaknesses.  On the other side, the cat knows what to expect and when and who to trust and when. Cats are very intuitive animals. Don’t let anyone tell you that they are not smart or they only want to be fed. This is a fallacy. Cats are intelligent animals that bond very strongly with humans. It’s not just the cat toys, food or other goodies that creates this bond!

seniors-with-dogWhen seniors have pets, they often share a very powerful emotional bond. That’s why a senior may need a lot of emotional support after a beloved pet dies. You can help by encouraging them to talk about their pet and what it meant to them. Give them time to grieve openly. You may also wonder if it’s a good time to replace the pet. Jane Shaw, director of the Argos Institute at Colorado State University says that some people want a new pet fairly quickly to re-establish an important routine.  Others may need time to adjust. So ask your friend or relative what they would prefer. If he or she needs more support than you or other friends can offer, suggest a grief counselor or a pet lose support hotline. It’s very difficult for anyone when a beloved pet dies. It’s even difficult to look at their belongings like their dog or cat bed, their dishes, leashes etc. When my rabbit passed away, it took me five months to get rid of her cage. Grieving is an important step in the healing process and make sure that you allow time to grieve.

canine-cprThis article appeared in today’s Bergen Record. Most pet owners would leap into action and go the extra mile to rescue their pet with CPR if necessary. Tammy Parks of Amherst Mass. has taken a pet first aid class and she says that she wouldn’t hesitiate to help her 15 year old mixed breed terriers, Lucy and Julia. She says that the CPR mechanics are the same as humans. Parks was an American Red Cross first aid trainer. Size is the bigger difference. A poll found that few pet owners are prepared to handle pet emergencies. Only 20 percent have a pet first aid kit in their home and 54 percent do not have a fire evacuation plan for their pets. The survey also showed dangerous practices that could lead to accidents and injuries. The article pointed out that a quarter of pet owners give their pets bones from table scraps. If you do this, you are looking for trouble! STOP IT!! Sixty two percent of dog owners and a third of cat owners let their pets ride in their cars unrestrained, rather than placing them in their special pet carrier. Eleven percent leave their pets unattended in a car or truck. This is just plain cruelty!  Still pet owners said that they would go the extra mile to rescue their pet. This is great but remember all of the basics that were mentioned in this article to ensure complete safety for your pets.